Tridente Architects' sophisticated interpretation of an industrial product is first project completed for new master plan
Caritas College at Port Augusta in South Australia is a twenty-year-old school which is anticipating a growth of student numbers due to the current investment in mining. The existing school has been re-master planned to accommodate the anticipated growth within the next ten years providing a framework for changing trends in curriculum delivery. The Caritas College Junior School External Covered Area was the first major project to be implemented at the completion of the masterplan, a consequence of the College’s desire to provide its students with an outdoor covered area to provide a level of protection from the harsh environment.
The project includes the redevelopment of an under utilised portion of the site into a multipurpose outdoor covered area where structured sports, community activities and student performances can be held both during the day and night. The project provides a new external student hub, a centre for school activity and linkages to the new usage patterns established by the masterplan. Due to the country location of the school and the program requirements derived from Australian Government Building the Education Revolution (BER) funding, consideration was given to construction techniques and material selection which would reduce the construction period on site.
The structure utilises a unique steel profile (Aramax 800A100) with structural properties which allow exceptionally long spans without secondary support to be achieved. The choice of this material reduced the amount of structural steel required and reduced the onsite labour making the project very cost effective. The integrity of the structural system that has been adopted has resulted in a robust tectonic form that rises to connect with the existing environs. The roofing and wall profile present a simple but striking two-tone pattern of black and white on black structural framing with highlights of yellow.
To the north façade the vertical sheets are rhythmically spaced with subtle variation, hinting at a relationship to adjacent music classrooms and providing shelter from the prevailing winds whilst maintaining visual connection to activities on the sports field beyond. The new building has dramatic presence that reinforces the established identity of Caritas College. Its unique nature has ensured that it has become well known in Port Augusta and the local community.